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Paul Walker took the right steps to protect estate

Michigan car enthusiasts probably took notice in November of last year when Paul Walker, the actor most famous for his roles in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, died in a car accident. It was a sad event for a number of reasons, but mostly because Walker was only 40 years old and in the prime of life.

Recently, his family began to take the necessary steps to begin the process of distributing Walker's rather sizable estate. Walker was not married, but he is survived by a daughter, who is only 15 years old. Walker's parents are both alive and it appears that they could play a key role in what is to become of his assets.

According to reports, Walker followed a relatively common estate planning strategy in which the details of his will indicate that his assets were to pass into a revocable trust he had established. A will designed in this manner is commonly referred to as a "pour-over" will, meaning that, for the most part, all the will does in terms of distributing assets is to name the trust in which ownership of assets should transfer. The reports indicate that Walker's daughter is named as the sole beneficiary of the trust, and that his mother will be the caretaker of the funds.

Although Walker's death was tragic and unexpected, as usual there is something about this incident that can help the rest of us learn a valuable lesson. Knowing the benefits of establishing a trust is one thing, but, perhaps most importantly, it shows that a 40-year-old movie star, who had every reason to think he'd live a long and happy life and nonetheless took the time to establish an estate plan, can set an example that no one should think that they can wait to take the same steps to protect their family and assets.

Source: Forbes, "Five Estate Planning Lessons From The Paul Walker Estate," Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Feb. 10, 2014

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